What are the characteristics of a quality Content Management System (CMS)?
I started making a list to answer this question, and it got long pretty quickly. I’m going to focus on what I consider to be five important characteristics of a quality Content Management System.
- The CMS must be flexible and customizable. If some content uses whole screens and other content calls for divided screens with a crawl in the lower third, the system should have that capability. If the content is targeted to specific audiences in different locations, or needs to change for certain day-parts, that option should be available.
- The CMS must be scalable. If the project starts with a 10-site pilot and then expands to 200 sites, the software must be able to handle those additional sites and more in the future as they are added to the network.
- The CMS needs to be user-friendly and simple to operate. This is not as significant an issue in networks where all content is controlled from a central office, but if there will be site-specific content, generated locally, it can’t require a computer sciences degree in order to use the CMS effectively.
- Speaking of central management, that’s another necessity for the CMS. It must be able to support both central management and local updates.
- Finally, the CMS needs to be stable. No one wants their network to go dark because the CMS provider updated the software, or more screens were added to the network, or a bunch of new content was uploaded.
With so many providers to choose from, it’s important to carefully evaluate these and other characteristics before investing in a CMS.